"Typhoid Inoculation" by John Vachon / Public Domain

Scientists, under pressure, try to balance speed and safety on coronavirus vaccine research

Mar 26, 2020

By Denise Chow

For researchers working on possible coronavirus treatments, time is short.

More than 100 clinical trials of dozens of potential coronavirus treatments are already underway around the world, a mobilization of global medical resources rarely seen before in human history.

But science can be slow and indirect. And despite the sheer number of scientists involved in these efforts, the scientific method requires a rigor that can only be sped up so much.

Experts have said that it could take at least 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is commercially available to administer widely — a timeline already seen as aggressive. And with international attention focused on coronavirus efforts, some researchers are warning about the potential pitfalls of accelerating scientific research and the risks of overpromising what science can deliver in a short time.

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